Buddha Belly Bamboo is ArtisTree’s “go-to bamboo.”

ArtisTree Plantopinions
L to R: ArtisTree VP of Landscape Design Joe Mantkowski with landscape designers Clinton Lak, Chris Culp, Brian Clouser and Elisabeth Owen

Will rubbing Buddha Belly Bamboo bring you good luck? We don’t know about that, but we do know that this non-invasive beauty is bound to bedazzle your guests at your next outdoor gathering. All five ArtisTree Plantopinion experts give Buddha Belly Bamboo a thumbs-up (with a few caveats) for its showy style. For a lush tropical look, it doesn’t get any better than a well-maintained Buddha Belly.

Buddha Belly Bamboo
Buddha Belly Bamboo steals the show in this ArtisTree-designed outdoor living area.

Joe Mantkowski, ArtisTree VP Landscape Design

The Buddha Belly Bamboo is a great non-invasive landscape accent that really adds a “wow factor.” I have two at my house (double and triple trunk) that flank the sides of my lanai for privacy and they both get plenty of sun. I keep them about 10’ tall, and they are always a conversation piece with their unique trunks and beautiful foliage. They look even more amazing at night with landscape lighting. Their foliage really glows! Unfortunately, this beautiful accent doesn’t come without maintenance. Like all bamboo, it sheds quite a bit, and the canopy needs to be occasionally trimmed back pending placement and height preferences. Also, it produces suckers around the base that will need to be removed either by picking them out by hand or trimming. Doing this will help control their size.

Clinton Lak, Landscape Designer

I don’t use bamboo often; however, when I do, Buddha Belly Bamboo is my go-to variety. It’s a fantastic addition to oriental (and some contemporary) inspired gardens. And despite perception, it’s a non-invasive clumping variety. That said, all bamboo are messy and require regular pup/sucker removal in order to keep them looking clean. Given the fact that they’re higher maintenance than most specimens, I try to limit their use and refrain from using them for screening and or mass plantings since maintenance can get out of hand. In addition to being “properly scaled” for most homes, the Buddha Belly displays bulging nodes on the canes which lend to its name and its reputation for being a classy bamboo.  

Buddha Belly Bamboo
Buddha Belly Bamboo is named for its bulging, belly-like nodes on mature canes.

Chris Culp, Landscape Designer

I do like the Buddha Belly Bamboo. It definitely has its own character with bulging inner-nodes. I especially like how it creates a nice oriental atmosphere with all its wispy foliage. What’s cool about Buddha Belly is that it has a clumping root system that makes it non-invasive. Unfortunately, a lot of people think it is invasive and won’t use it. Heads up: It can be a bit messy due to leaf drop, and it also has a black pubescence on the canes that can be irritating like fiberglass. You just need to wear gloves when trimming them. Like most bamboo, Buddha Belly can be expensive but worth it if you want a high-end exotic feel.

Brian Clouser, Landscape Designer

I’m a big fan of bamboo in general. Unfortunately, most bamboos are cold-sensitive, so you need to ask your landscape designer if they’re a good choice for your area. Buddha Belly is a very cool bamboo but does require some direct maintenance from a homeowner to look its best. Showing the canes is the appeal and will require trimming of starts. It’s a great specimen plant when allowed to be the focal point in a landscape bed. Pros: a great focal point specimen, not too big or small, and a great way to add texture to your garden. Cons: drops leaves like all bamboo and has potential cold-tolerance issues.

Buddha Belly Bamboo
These leafy plants will look even nicer when trimmed to reveal “Buddha Belly” canes. Photo: Palmco Nursery.

Elisabeth Owen, Landscape Designer

Unfortunately, I haven’t used bamboo too much in my design projects, but Buddha Belly Bamboo is indeed a beautiful plant. It’s perfect as an ornamental feature or used as a light privacy screen in garden beds or in pots and troughs. I really like the green and gold striped canes topped with attractive bushy foliage. Some of the best uses for this bamboo would be in an oriental-themed garden, in a beautiful backyard patio pot, or in a landscape bed where screening is needed to hide a particular view from a neighboring property. Like all bamboo, it’s important to keep the soil moist and give it plenty of space to clump. Though it’s not listed as invasive, be aware that it sheds debris and is a fast grower, making it a higher maintenance plant.

ArtisTree Landscape

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